Plot thickens in Lolly case

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iol nws jun9 SS_louca0 (26005619) THE STAR APPEAL: George Louca

As Lolly Jackson’s alleged killer was ordered by a Cyprus court to return to SA to face murder charges, a company apparently owned by Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir, has filed papers in court to claim $1 million (R8.4m) from the strip doyen’s estate.

The Czech company DRK Invest Praha Spol.Sro, in its papers, claims that Jackson borrowed the money and signed an acknowledgement of debt form on April 28, 2010 promising to pay the company by February this year.

DRK also attached a copy of the document in which Jackson said he would pay back the money in five instalments of $200 000 (R1.7m) plus 8 percent interest a year by February 28.

But in her replying affidavit, Jackson’s widow, Demi said the document was a “forgery” and was concluded as part of a “sham transaction of a money laundering scheme conceived between Jackson and one Radovan Krejcir, who is the controlling mind behind the provisonal sentence”.

She then challenged DRK to produce at the hearing, the original document. She also referred to an affidavit deposed by Kim Marriott, an expert forensic and fraud investigator who found the signatures on the document were not Jackson’s.

Mariott reiterated that the document was part of an elaborate money laundering scheme dreamt up by Jackson and Krejcir who had used Louca as a middleman to front businesses in order to launder money in Cyprus.

The matter has been set down in the Johannesburg High Court for Tuesday.

Meanwhile murder suspect George Louca’s defence looks set to appeal in a Cyprus supreme court, in the hope of overturning a judge’s decision to extradite him back to Joburg.

Louca is wanted to stand trial for Jackson’s murder in 2008.

Judge Elena Ephraim, in Limassol, Cyprus, ruled that the evidence against Louca was strong enough to justify extraditing him, even though he is a Cypriot citizen and that some case law protects citizens from being extradited.

During Friday’s ruling, the judge said a witness stated that Louca told his friends he had had a fight with Jackson and had killed him.

Other evidence was also credible, including another witness who said that Louca stored stolen goods in a warehouse he was renting.

On the November 17, 2006, men were seen unloading boxes into the warehouse. The boxes were stolen during an armed robbery, said the judge, who delivered her decision in Greek in what is apparently her characteristic low-key, precise way.

On the corruption charges, Louca allegedly gave a car to police officer Joey Mabasa’s wife. The evidence shows that the policeman didn’t pay for this car, the judge said.

For the purposes of an extradition ruling, all of this was strong enough evidence and Louca should stand trial in SA, she said.

Halfway through the judge’s ruling, Louca realised which way the decision was going to go, and started glowering. Making irritated hand gestures, sighing and puffing, he finally sank into the chair, putting his head in his hands.

After the judge finished her ruling, there was a long moment of silence in the courtroom. Louca’s father, sister, wife, brother and friends appeared as stunned as the suspect, after pinning their hopes on a law forbidding the extradition of Cypriots.

Defence lawyer Sofronis Sofroniou was quick to go to his client’s side, and is expected to appeal against the decision based on habeas corpus.

Sofroniou argued that the alleged crimes took place many years ago and that Louka should be released.

If Louca appeals, the case will continue in the Supreme Court in Nicosia and he will stay in custody for the duration of the trial.

Otherwise, his extradition back to SA would take place within two weeks. – EWN/Saturday Star

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